A consortium led by Royal Holloway, University of London, has today been named by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) as one of nine successful bids to host an ambitious Research and Development partnership aimed at boosting the UK’s creative sector.
The project, part of the AHRC Creative Industries Clusters Programme, will be known as StoryFutures. It will bring together universities, world leading creative and technology companies with the region’s SMEs to tackle the challenge of next-generation storytelling: how the creative sector will harness technologies such as immersive, including Augmented, Virtual, Mixed and Cross Reality (AR, VR, MR, XR), smart devices and Artificial Intelligence, to engage audiences in new experiences.
StoryFutures’ work will cover an area to the west of London and include parts of Surrey, Hampshire, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire, in what will be known as the Gateway Cluster. It will be based at Royal Holloway’s campus in Egham, fostering links between the cluster and the capital.
The Royal Holloway bid has been led by Professor James Bennett, who said: “We are delighted to have secured funding for this exciting projects. This award recognise the world-leading multi-disciplinary research at Royal Holloway and the strength of the amazing partnerships we have forged.
“The UK has a world leading reputation in storytelling, whether that’s TV, film, theatre or computer gaming. We also have great technology companies and the challenge for the future will be to bring them together and find new ways of telling those great stories.
“Consumers increasingly want to become part of the story and enjoy an immersive experience. Our work will provide an R&D platform to develop those experiences. We will enable innovative new products, content and services,” James added.
The project will immediately create 10 jobs at Royal Holloway, but the aim is to support the growth of creative businesses in the region to create many new jobs.
Partners in the StoryFutures project include: Brunel University, University for the Creative Arts, BBC Studios, Pinewood Studios, National Film and Television School, Immerse UK, Resource Productions, BFI, Connect TVT, Imaginarium Studios, The National Gallery, Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe, Creative Engine, Screen South, BSAC, BTVLEP, Richmond upon Thames College and nDreams
The Creative Industries Clusters Programme, led by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and funded through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, is an ambitious R&D investment which will establish Creative R&D Partnerships to significantly improve collaboration between the country’s internationally-renowned creative industries and UK universities. Their work will help catalyse economic growth and provide the skills necessary for the creative jobs of the future.
Professor Andrew Thompson, Executive Chair of the Arts and Humanities Research Council, said: “Combining world-class arts and humanities researchers with our globally renowned creative industries will underpin growth in this vibrant and rapidly expanding sector within the UK economy.
“These pioneering partnerships between industry and universities are providing a huge vote of confidence for a sector that is vital to the future prosperity of the UK.”
All the winning bids will address a distinct and measurable challenge or challenges which are identified by creative industries in their area. The work will have significant commercial impact.